A cluttered desk creates distraction. Everything laying on the surface clamors for attention. Removing the clutter helps you focus on your present task. Even if you have several on-going projects, it’s easier to “focus” if the only items in front of you belong to your current project. Decluttering your workspace can help you clear your mind and make you more efficient.
Remove the Small Stuff
Small items that are non-essential to the task at hand should be out of sight. “Items” such as pens, calendars, books, supplies, and food should be stored away in a drawer or on a shelf. But before you toss those items into your cabinet drawers, it’s probably time to clean them out first. Everyone has the catch-all drawer that contains so many items you’re not even sure what is all in there. And most of the items you don’t even need. Give unwanted items to your coworkers – they can store it in their catch-all drawer for a while. Then purchase a drawer divider so you can separate the pens from the rubber bands from the paper clips. You won’t feel so anxious opening that drawer after it is neat and organized.
You can replace framed photos by using your computer’s desktop or screensaver to view these same pictures. Consider replacing paper calendars with digital versions. Use Evernote or Google Drive to scan and store documents that come to you as paper versions. Once these documents are scanned they are much easier to share with others, and you will be less likely to lose them.
Enlarge Your Workspace
If you have a lot of important stuff that cannot be removed from your work area, that doesn’t mean your desk needs to be cluttered. It means you need a better method of storing your “daily work items”. Consider adding drawers on wheels, shelving, or a project storage system to your work area. These will remove clutter from your desk surface.
Organize your Digital Clutter
Just because the physical space looks good doesn’t mean you’re all set to go. Digital clutter can be even more distracting then the physical clutter. Take the time to organize your files. If you are having trouble finding files on your computer, it’s a sure sign that you’re not organized. Create folders for each client and store separate projects in their own folders. Create task folders within project folders so you can easily locate the correct files for each phase of your project. Give files descriptive names so they cannot be confused with other clients’ tasks or projects.
Don’t save files to your desktop. Once you start down that road, it never seems to end. Before you know it, you have columns of files extending all the way across your computer screen. Put a shortcut to the folders you use most on your desktop. That will save time working with the files you use most during the day.
Make a Commitment to Regular Decluttering
Clutter creeps in slowly while you are working. End of day cleanup is probably the best solution. Spending 5 minutes at the end of the day to put items back where they belong or create a home for newly created projects is easier than letting things pile up all week long.